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Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 2010 Update


It’s been a while since the last update here, so I’m checking in to let everyone know what’s going on with

The short answer? Nothing bad. I’m reviewing Fallout New Vegas at the moment, and it’s been great. I like some things about it much better then Fallout 3, but it’s got some hiccups that I’ll cover in the final review. The picture above is from one of the most memorable moments in the early game. How did you handle that situation?


I’m also still writing my NBA 2K11 My Player blogs on AlphaSports. The above picture is my favorite so far. You’d think landing a haymaker on a floor mopper would be a flagrant foul at the very least (intent, windup and follow through – aren’t those the requirements?), but apparently side line folk are fair game. Next I’m going to see if I can knock out the mascot – Bennie the Bull always has irked me (but not as much as his blow-up counterpart, who I call Inflata-Bull).


Alazar is currently on hold and may not see any real activity until Cataclysm. I just don’t have the drive to log in and repeat the same quests and dungeons I’ve been doing for months when in less then 30 days the expansion will hit and change everything.

I’d love to acquire either Fable III or Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller to review but those are both very much up in the air. Fable’s more likely simply due to it’s more reasonable cost but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to tackle either one right now. One reason is that my ancient upstairs computer has finally completely died so I’d like to replace it at some point (ideal situation: replace the main ‘puter with something better and use the old one down here for upstairs as an upgrade to both situations).

To sum thing up, everything’s pretty much as it’s always been around here. I’ll try and get my Fallout: New Vegas review live as soon as I can. Later, all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Champions Online Goes Free to Play

Champions Online, Cryptic Studio’s super hero MMORPG is going free to play in early 2011. I really support this concept because the game is fun but seems to lean more towards on-and-off-again play. Personally I’ll occasionally restart my subscription and play for a month and then take a few months off. The new F2P model will be limited to two character slots and the base power sets (no customizing starting powers).

The press release is as follows.

(Los Angeles, CA) October XX, 2010 – Atari Inc., one of the world's most recognized videogame publishers, and renowned MMO developer Cryptic Studios have announced today that their superhero MMORPG, Champions Online™, will be free to play beginning Q1 2011. Players will be able to download and enjoy the game at absolutely no cost.

Champions Online free-to-play also features additional premium content for purchase. Adventure Packs, items, powers and costume pieces can be selected a la carte inside Cryptic's innovative C-Store. Additionally, current players may continue subscribing as Gold members, while new players may also optionally upgrade to Gold status, which unlocks most of the game's content and includes extra features for a set price of $14.99 per month.

"Transitioning Champions Online to the free-to-play model is a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience of PC gamers that view subscription fees as a barrier to entry," said John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios. "By taking care of our current subscription-based community and welcoming the addition of new players through free-to-play, Champions Online is poised to build upon its success and to establish a new leadership position as the first free-to-play superhero MMO."

Champions Online has been lauded since its launch for the customization options it gives players. The switch to free-to-play gives players even more control over their gameplay:

  • Unlimited Play Time – Play as much as you like, as long as you like, at absolutely no cost. No subscription or credit card required.
  • Your Own Hero, Your Own Story – Become a hero, encounter his or her Nemesis, and advance to maximum level at no cost.
  • Play Your Way – Utilize the optional web-based and in-game C-Store to purchase gameplay upgrades or additional premium content.

The Champions Online free-to-play closed beta test begins on November 9, 2010 and will be made available to a subset of current players, with potential openings for new users.

Champions Online brings epic heroism to the MMORPG genre with depth that challenges the most experienced online gamers, while its fast-paced action engages new entrants to the online superhero universe. Join with Defender and the legendary Champions to stop Dr. Destroyer and his minions in the ultimate showdown between good and evil.

To learn more about Champions Online Free-to-Play, please visit:

Atari group is a global creator, producer and publisher of interactive entertainment. Atari's brands and content are available across all key traditional and digital distribution touch points, including browser-based and social online platforms, PC, consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, and advanced smart phones (i.e. iPhone, Android and RIM devices).

Divisions of Atari, SA include Cryptic Studios, Eden Studios, Atari Interactive, Inc. and Atari, Inc.

Atari benefits from the strength of its worldwide brand and its extensive catalogue of contemporary classic game franchises (Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Lunar Lander®), original owned franchises (Test Drive®, Backyard Sports®, Deer Hunter®), MMO games from Cryptic Studios (Star Trek™ Online, Champions™) and third party franchises (Ghostbusters®, Rollercoaster Tycoon®, Dungeons and Dragons®). Atari also leverages the power of its franchises to deliver movies and merchandise to consumers around the world.

For more information please visit:
© 2010 Atari Europe SASU. All rights reserved.
Atari word mark and logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.

Based in Los Gatos, CA, Cryptic Studios is a leading developer of massively multiplayer online games committed to delivering the next level of MMO gameplay. Cryptic develops AAA titles for PC and consoles, including Star Trek Online and Champions Online. For more information on Cryptic Studios, please visit the official website at: Cryptic word mark and logo are trademarks owned by Cryptic Studios, Inc.

You can find more information at on their site.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn, Renamed

I've been playing Kirby's Epic Yarn tonight and its allot of fun, but I can't help but think that the name needs something. Here's a few of the replacement titles I've scrounged together.
  • Kirby: Nightmare in Pantsland
  • Kirby's String Theory
  • Kirby's Complete Fabrication
  • Kirby's So-Sew Adventure
  • Kirby: Knit ware in Dreamland
  • Kirby's Canvas Calamity
  • Kirby's Loose Threads
  • Kirby's Coming Apart at the Seams
  • Yin-Yarn Strings Kirby Along
  • Kirby Can't Lose No Matter What
  • Prince Fluff's Fetch Quest
I know I missed some easy ones. Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in Action

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates, but it’s been busy here at I re-did every single review, cataloging them and fixing their myriad formatting and typing errors.  I’ve also cleaned up all of the ‘junk’ on the pages and made them more browser and search-engine friendly. As I bonus I streamlined the review creation  process, so I can get more reviews up more easily. My latest reviews are for The Guild 2 Renaissance and NBA 2K11 – two games at totally opposite ends of the quality spectrum.

You may notice that advertisements have been placed on the site. I decided that I can only run as a charity for so long, and it’s been running at a loss since it’s inception. It’s cost me just about  $1,000 to keep this site up and running since I leased the domain in 2004, so even a dollar here and there will help.

Now, don’t think is in danger. The site is still I safe and sound hands and I’m perfectly capable of keeping the site online as it stands. However, any ad revenue I receive would go towards the hosting fee, or if that’s already covered for the period, another game to review.

Donations are also welcome, but I’m not going to post a link or button asking for donations at this time. I don’t think it looks good on a small site like mine. It tends to give off whiff of desperation, in my mind. One may one day appear, but not as it stands. If you wish to make a donation, contact me directly and I will help arrange it.

In any case, enjoy the upgrade to and let me know if you have any comments or opinions. Later, all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Minecraft Craziness

javaw 2010-10-02 10-11-22-52

Like seemingly half of the gaming community these days, I’m playing Minecraft. This seemingly simple game has incredible depth and potential. You start with your bare hands and nothing but wild spaces around you. After harvesting some raw materials and building some basic amenities, you need to put up shelter for the night. Why? Because if you don’t you’re not going to see the morning.

Monsters come out at night, ranging from the mundane spiders and zombies to the arrow-shooting skeletons and the exploding creepers (seen above – he’s the green guy). It’s wise to be indoors somewhere when the sun falls, but without light to chase the shadows from your borough, monsters will spawn there too. So you build torches, and you begin to see the depth this game has. You can dig into the earth with your pick axes (keep a couple at all times, because they break) looking for rare minerals or random caves, you can build amazing structures around the landscape out of stone, brick, wood, glass or whatever else you dig up or make, or you can make a farm with food and animals to live on and just be a homebody.

javaw 2010-10-02 09-28-36-22

If I had to leverage a complaint right now, it would be that it’s too easy to  lose your shelter in the wilderness early on. I had a nice three story cave home in my first game that I lost track of while trying to find food and leather. I never did find it again, actually. Also, the game can eat up memory like no one’s business, which can lead to crashes.

The game has a lovely 3D 8-bit look that belies it’s amazing depth. If you’ve got any mind at all for creativity, this is something you have to try.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NBA ELITE 11 Delayed

Um, wow. Consider me shocked. NBA ELITE 11 is being delayed indefinitely right now by EA Sports. I didn’t like the Xbox 360 demo this year (then again, I’ve not really liked a next gen EA Sports basketball game to date) but this came completely out of left field. I personally didn’t think the demo was substantially worse then previous EA Sports b-ball games. It featured the same robotic animations, over-saturated coloring and stiff control as in past games, with some confusing new controller-input changes added on top. EA had allot to lose by putting this product head-to-head with NBA 2K11, which has a head of steam going, hype-wise, with the new features, improved graphics and the inclusion of Michael Jordan (something EA did back in 1999 with NBA Live 2000). However, this delay could be very dangerous to EA’s basketball brand.

First they renamed the venerable NBA Live series, giving up name recognition in the process. Now they’re missing the opening gate and giving 2K Sports a head start. This could lead to neutral fans who would normally flock to Live because of the name to go to NBA 2K11. What happens there is anyone’s guess. They may get attached to the new brand, or they could get turned off on basketball games as a whole. It almost gives me the vibes from 989 Sports’ NBA Shootout series that EA’s game killed off. 989 skipped Shootout 2002 (on the PS2) to perfect their product but never really got back in the game. Eerily, it was NBA Shootout that was originally trying new and unconventional things to hang with NBA Live on the original PlayStation (such as their unique create-a-dunk feature), which reminds me of the innovations EA has implemented to stay with 2K’s game (freestyle dribbling on the PS2/Xbox, ELITE’s complete overhaul on the PS3/360).

EA has scrapped a franchise in the past and it’s worked. Triple Play Baseball got a really bad reputation in the early 2000s for low quality, so EA shut it down and made a new game, MVP Baseball, that by many accounts was the best baseball game of it’s day (before 2K Sports locked up the MLB license and killed the series). That means that EA Sports isn’t on entirely uncharted ground here. They just need to be careful to not lose too much territory to NBA 2K11 this fall. Time will tell if they can.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Civilization V Review Progressing

CivilizationV 2010-09-22 06-10-36-13

I’m still reviewing Civilization V, and I’m almost done. The game is – so far – one of my favorites of 2010, up there with Super Mario Galaxy 2 and StarCraft 2. I hope to have a review by Monday, but no promises.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Civilization V Under Review

Hey all. Sorry for the lack of updates, but I’m currently playing the living hell (I believe that’s a technical term) out of Civilization V. So far I’d say it passes muster, but only further playtime will tell for certain. Here’s a few bullet points on what I’ve seen so far.

  • War works, at last. No longer are you forced to be content with Stacks of Doom – instead you actually have to think and use strategy with the now-valuable terrain.
  • The graphics, which I was worried about, are not as bad as I feared. I’d tweeted earlier that they resembled Civilization III, which I didn’t like, but they’re more like an advanced version of Civ IV. Consider me impressed.
  • The city-states are fun and dynamic, driving sometimes staid portions of the game forward, either by needing/wanting something or through interactions with each other or the other civilizations.

I’ll post a full review when I get a chance. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NBA 2K11 Demo Out

Quick update: NBA 2K11’s demo released this morning. I played it through a few times (not hard seeing as it’s Celtics at Lakers for one quarter) and came away impressed. The animations seemed improved over last season and the camera work was much more indicative of a live TV broadcast. The only flaw is that you can only play as the Lakers. I know some folks who won’t be happy about that, but it is what it is. Anyway, if you’re interested, go download it and give it a shot. Later, all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art Antics

I’m still doodling my web comic, The Jockeys, if anyone cares. It’s been much smoother sailing since I got my new graphics tablet and art program. Here’s my one of my latest comics.


I’m also working on – behind the scenes -  a manga-styled comic that’s not coming along quite as well as The Jockeys but I’m still working at it. Here’s a random page.


The story is convoluted as hell and this is just an expository sequence, so there’s not much for you to go on here, sorry. If this comic takes off I’ll likely share more at that time. Later, all.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everquest II Gets Extended

I’ve played Everquest II on and off for the last year or so but I’ve never fully committed to playing. My highest level character was a level 13 Kerra Brigand, with a smattering of lower level characters. Recently, though, Sony Online Entertainment has launched a new initiative: Everquest II Extended.

Everquest II Extended is SOE’s free to play model for EQ2, and to me at least it’s a triumph. For one thing, they’ve simplified the interface greatly so that anyone can dive in and play. The map includes highlighted areas that show where to go for the quests you have (highly reminiscent of the Carbonite add-on I use for World of Warcraft). The game also runs smoother for me then the full game. When I’ve played EQ2 in the past it would be a slow, stuttering affair. I’ve not had that with EQ2X.

Another boon to new players is that the different mechanics are explained plainly so anyone can understand them. For example, look at this early splash screen.


This can seem redundant for vets for for new players this is a huge bonus.

Of course, there are limits. If you play free, you can only use four of the races and eight of the classes. The other races are purchasable if you use the in-game store, but the remaining classes are locked unless you get the Gold subscriber package, which costs the same as regular EQ2. Personally I’d rather pay $15 a month for EQ2X over normal Everquest II, because I like the improvements they’ve made. Since I started playing a couple days ago I’ve already passed my old Brigand’s level on my new Human Berserker, and I don’t think I’m going to stop there. If you liked EQ2 in the past, or wanted to check it out  but didn’t want to buy the game, this is what you want. Alphasim out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Q.U.B.Ed Up

I just got done running through Q.U.B.E. beta 1.2, and it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a first-person game in a long time. It definitely reminds one of Portal but it has it’s own feel, and with it’s various cubes to move with different attributes it was a nice puzzler. I’d love to see a larger, longer full version someday. Great work by the folks at Toxic Games.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alpha’s Artistic Side

Hey everyone. I’m still working on that StarCraft II review, so that’s on it’s way. Eventually. I’m kind of distracted by my new graphics tablet and drawing new work for my web comic, The Jockeys. My first comic with the new tablet is pretty shaky, but I’m getting better (and much better then my early comics, which always looked worse after being scanned in to my computer). I used to draw comics at random but now I try and update the comic every Sunday (I’ll be at six consecutive this week).

And that’s what I’ve done with my summer vacation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Cold Shoulder

This is going to be a personal rant, so if you’re not in the mood for that, I suggest you move on for now.

Everyone here ok with my ranting? Ok, let’s get started.

It’s always fun to realize your place in the world. Often times you learn you’re nowhere near as significant as you think you are. Case in point: after covering gaming here on for the last 5 years I recently attempted – for the first time – to ask game companies’ PR departments questions regarding products of their that I’m covering. Two prominent ones were Blizzard and OnLive. Now I know that ‘owner/webmaster of’ isn’t exactly internet currency but it’s humbling as hell to get completely blown off by these folks.

I’m not going to repost my varied queries publicly but they were – in my mind – neither invasive nor needy. I wasn’t asking for a scoop or some new information ahead of the big boys and I certainly wasn’t requesting special service. Most of them were of a clarifying nature, to be honest.

In truth I’ve not been personally been told off by anyone I’ve contacted. No one has said that they will not deal with me. Personally, I take the response I got more seriously: I got nothing. No reply, no automated message, nothing. That’s a real blow, that they didn’t think enough of my emails to reply at all.

Oh well, c’est la vie I suppose. I’ll continue my work as I always have, and occasionally, if a situation truly calls for it,  attempt again to be heard. Maybe someday someone will give me the time of day. If so, you’ll hear about it here first.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Alpha Does StarCraft, Too

I picked up StarCraft II this morning and have been playing it on and off today. I am by no means a great – or really, even a good – RTS player. I can handle the concepts and work the controls but I’m not enough of a multitasker to be real good. If I have to split my forces much, I’m in trouble – I’m at my best when I can keep the fighting on one front. More importantly, though, is my magical inability to produce units fast enough to be competitive. Why, I know not. Those I play seem to have no problem, so why do I?
StarCraft II threatens to teach me my mistakes. It’s build queue analyses in the post game breakdown allows me to see exactly how I’m getting out-gathered, out-built, and finally out-muscled. So far in SC2 it’s been me against the AI (no way I’m throwing myself to the wolves right now) and I’ve found out some problems with my usual style already.
StarCraft II is obviously going to be reviewed on in the near future, but for kicks I’m going to rattle off some of my favorite other RTS games and adventures.
  • Age of Empires 2: Omegasim and I got hooked on AOE2 as our RTS gateway drug. After hours of play one afternoon chasing down the remnants of a purple-colored empire, we’ve since sworn that any opponent wearing purple is trouble.
  • Empire Earth 2:  I introduced Omega to EE2 after we’d already been hooked on AOE2. EE2 allowed Omega to start his obsession with nukes in games. From nuking enemy cities to the ground to taking his own citizens into the wilderness and nuking them to free up population space, Omega’s a nuke nut. Personally I like overrunning an opponent with an army built around heavy siege weapons.
  • Age of Empires 3: This is my second favorite all-time RTS. I wrote about it on this blog back in 2008, so there’s not allot more to say.
  • Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots: Here’s my all-time favorite RTS. I love the nation balance, the action and the interface. I also really like the empire expansion/national border concept. One quick story from my time with RON:TAP was Omega and I in a large-scale battle where he got confused in the ruckus and nuked his own capital. It was hilarious as he was yelling at the nuke to stop – yeah, that’ll work – as it approached his city and just hung his head after it hit.
Omega and I have to play StarCraft II sometime.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Gets Tweaked

I’ve finally gotten around to making changes to to accommodate both my needs and complaints I’ve gotten about it’s structure. I’m not going to go in to detail on the changes because allot of them were under the hood, but users will notice a tighter format and a slimmer layout. Let me know if you like it, don’t like it, or don’t see it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Covering Cataclysm

Hello all. I am attempting to cover the pre-release hoopla around World of WarCraft’s latest expansion, Cataclysm.

Since my attempts to contact Blizzard’s media relations department for further information and answers to a few of my questions have been a failure, I’ll be going on publicly released information (unless I am admitted to the beta testing, which seems unlikely). This means that unfortunately our coverage will always be a step or so slow. Such is the curse of being a small site with minimal staff.

In any case, you can find our main page HERE, and I’ll be posting most of my new information on Alazar. If you’ve never been to Alazar before, it’s my World of WarCraft blog centered around my level 80 human paladin, Gavelier. The blog began  on October 8th, 2008 with Gav at level 48, and has been in constant contact with my misadventures with Gav ever since.

Other then that, Betasim has finally found her way into OnLive. I’ll have updates on her take of the system when I can get it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

OnLive Conclusion

Well, after all of my ranting and raving about OnLive here in this blog, I figured I’d wrap things up with the conclusion of the tale.

I upped my bandwidth yesterday to 12 mb/s and finally made it in to OnLive. I like what I see so far, too. I’m working on a new article type in my Original Organic Article (basically a fancy name for a blog) on that will conclude with my review of the service. And with that, the saga is at a close.

‘Bout damn time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

OnLive Article: Delayed. Again.

OnLive. It’s been a love-hate relationship for me since it launched last Thursday. It took until yesterday for me to get my account activated, and then I had to call because my activation didn’t work.

So now, my account has been activated. I have the client installed. I’m set to go forth and try out the service. Let’s just fire it up and…

nowayonlive God dammit.

A check through my settings and a scan by or three told me that I had gotten my ISP’s bargain-basement connection speed of 3 mb/s. Of that, I was maxing out around 2.8 mb/s on Speedtest. Consider me ticked off.

What this means is that my OnLive article will have to be further postponed, and that my ISP can expect a call soon. This won’t go on for long, I assure you.

I will get OnLive.

Friday, June 18, 2010

OnLive Trying my Patience

I posted on Wednesday that OnLive would launch yesterday, and technically, it did. However, it only launched officially for a small portion of it’s 25,000 Founders Club members. Now, 19+ hours later, a very substantial chunk of OnLive’s prospective fan base still sits there, unable to access the system because their accounts have yet to be activated. I myself am in that number, and grow weary of waiting for OnLive to get it’s act together. When contacted, they informed me that my account could be active within a few weeks. They also informed me that I was higher on the pre-registry list and that my activation email may come ‘sooner rather then later.’

We will see.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

OnLive Tomorrow, Not Today

I’d like to make a comment about my last post. I said yesterday that OnLive was launching today. What happened is that for whatever reason I was convinced all day yesterday that it was Wednesday. It wasn’t until late in the day that it dawned on me that it was only Tuesday. So, no, OnLive does not launch today. Indeed, I will repeat what I said yesterday: OnLive launches tomorrow.

And this time I’m sure.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick Updates for 6/15/2010

I’m back again with two quick updates.

  1. A demo  for NCAA Football 11 has been released into the wild. I’ve toyed with the Xbox 360 version and the new locomotion engine makes a massive difference. The game just felt extremely smooth to me. It looked fantastic as well and I saw zero framerate hiccups. That’s a good sign.
  2. OnLive is set to launch tomorrow, but they’ve been hinting and a big reveal and some new surprises today. A good sign for those of us anxiously waiting for the go ahead to use the service will be happy to note that their site is currently down for maintenance, which signals that they’re finally moving to their new site format (revealed during the registration process for early applicants). I’m interested to hear their big news. Word got around overnight that the service would cost $4.95 a month, and there would be a sign-up bonus for the first month. Some say that the sign-up bonus would be a free year of OnLive. If so, that would be a huge gamble, as well as a huge show of confidence. We’ll see as the day goes on.

That’s all for now. Later, all.

EDIT: And just like that, the flashy new OnLive site is up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

App Review: HippoRemote Pro

Once upon a time I attempted an iDevice (iPhone/iPod Touch) app blog. It died a slow, sad death. In it’s memory, though, I may post a random note about some of my favorite apps here. Today, we start with HippoRemote Pro


Robohippo LLC
See in App Store

I started using HippoRemote during the WWDC conference. For whatever reason, while following a live blog on Engadget, I came across HippoRemote during a lull. I liked the idea of controlling my mouse with my iPod Touch, so I picked up the free HippoRemote Lite. After using it for the duration of my time following the live blog, I decided that I liked it enough to go ahead and buy the full version.screenshot_7

Thus far I am very happy with my decision. I’ve not put the game controller feature (where it acts as the controls for different games) to the test yet, but for surfing the web, playing videos and basic operations while I am some distance from my keyboard and mouse it works great. The different App Profiles are very nice. They’ve got all the one’s I’d want, from Media Player Classic to Firefox and Chrome. 

screenshot_3One reason I opted for the Pro over the Basic model was for the circular scrolling option. I missed my scroll wheel badly so this fixed it. You click a button at the base of the screen to bring up a scrolling wheel that purportedly functions similar to an iPod’s scroll wheel. All in all this is one handy app. I’d recommend it to folks who want to step away from the mouse and keyboard for a while. Later, all.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ready for OnLive

Speaking of being in the APB “Key to the City” deal last post, I remembered that I’d not mentioned getting my pre-registration accepted for OnLive. As part of the “Founding Members” group, I got to reserve my username (guess what it is?) and I’m supposed to get a free year of OnLive plus a free game. I’ll be reviewing that sometime after it comes out on June 17th.

I have high hopes for OnLive, as does Beta. Her main computer is an underpowered (for gaming, anyway) laptop so if this turns out to be a viable product, she can play more PC games while in Chicago. My biggest concern – aside from the internet still being pretty much an untamed beast, performance-wise – is the idea of paying for the service and then buying games at full price. I would like to see you be able to register your already-bought games for use on OnLive. We’ll see what’s what in about four days.

APB: Alpha’s On the Case

I’m in the All Points Bulletin (APB) “Key to the City” event right now, and from what I understand, the NDA is off, at least to a limited degree. I’ll be brief in any case.

One thing I like is the awesome character creation tool. It’s allowed me to recreate my frightening visage in-game. If anyone’s every wondered what I look like, this is a fairly close approximation.


I may make Beta’s head too, just for kicks. In any case, the game was fun. I’ve only really rolled through the tutorial zone, but the last mission I played involved PvP – which the game didn’t tell me up front. I was just suddenly told that the rival faction was on to me mid-mission, and then a criminal showed up (I was an enforcer). He and I crossed paths six times during the course of this mission. I killed him three times, died once, shook him in my car on one occasion and finally completed the mission as he was desperately trying to gun me down, which made us neutral to each other again. Ha. Alpha: 1, Criminal: 0.

It’s a fun game, and one that warrants a review once it’s released. Later, all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rob Bob from Sims 3 Ambitions

Hey everyone. Beta coerced my to make a short comic out of the misadventures of my current Sim in The Sims 3: Ambitions, so I did. Here’s what I came up with. It’s not long, but it’s simple fun.

RobBobsTattoo_page1RobBobsTattoo_page2 RobBobsTattoo_page3

I hope you enjoy it. Share it with your friends! Later,all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Back Again

Since the update to added the new front page for news and updates, I’ve been struggling to figure out what to post here. I mean, if the front page has all the news and updates, what is this blog going to hold? I finally figured it out: a more casual and behind-the-scenes look into me, the site, and it’s development. Let’s start with what I did all of last night.

I’ll be the first to admit that is struggling. Our traffic isn’t very good, and most people who do hit up come and go in a matter of seconds. What can we do to change that? More exposure and better content. The latter is always under development, but the former was my task last night. I worked on getting’s name and brand out there last night, ponying up some money for advertising. So far, it’s worked; we’ve had more hits since the ads started then we had all last week. With more traffic, I’ve got a reason to keep the site moving forward.

On a more serious note I would like to – someday, but likely not soon – turn into a profitable site. That would mean either renting out ad space or adding a pay section. Neither of those options appeal to me at the moment. Inserting ad space can be done but I don’t feel provides enough content right now to warrant charging our visitors. Donations of course are always welcome, but I kept a PayPal donation button on the main page for a couple years and got nothing. In the new revision I took it down not because of the lack of donations but rather because it was an eyesore. It screamed ‘I’m cheap!’ to me, which isn’t really the case.

On another subject, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I’m a Cleveland area native (Akron, actually) and therefore have always been a Cleveland sports fan. With the Indians floundering yet again and the Cavs running the risk of losing only their best player ever, it’s not a good time here. I bring this up because my fandom occasionally seeps into my Twitter account and may reappear here. Later, all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New now live

As I write this, the new, improved is going live. It still has a rough edge or two, but overall I’m happy with it. Let me know what you think of it and hopefully it can continue to improve.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Computer Curiosity

I was discussing my computer the other day with someone when it dawned on me the language I was using sounded an awful lot like how one used to discuss their suped-up hot rods. For example, I described my computer as having “an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.5Ghz dual core, a GeForce 8800 GT with 512 megs on board, and 4 gigs of DDR2 667.”

Yes, that’s what I’m running. Stop snickering.

Anyway, it sounded awful funny when I thought about it afterwards. Someone with no computer knowledge whatsoever would be lost – and that’s not even tech jargon, it’s just the the basic hardware I’m using. I would imagine I would react with a blank stare if someone told me about the custom mechanics under the hood of their car (I do not work on, nor really care about the inner workings of a motor vehicle). I’m not even going to make a fool of myself trying to a make a mock monologue, because as an someone (an actor I believe, I forget who exactly) once said, “You have to be able to do something right, to properly do it wrong.” So I’m just going to wrap this post up with a simple equation: Computers == nerd hot rods. Scary, no?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OOTP and Redesigns

I’m still working on the new build of, and it’s coming along well. More importantly, though, is that I intend to review Out of the Park Baseball 11 soon. Check the game out at OOTP Developments. My goal is to get this review done by the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Up to Date: Apr. 14th, 2010

Here’s a couple quick notes to get everyone caught up.

  • I’m cutting the daily gaming updates from Raptr to my Twitter account on the grounds that they were useless and overabundant. I will keep my achievement notices, though.
  • As I tweeted, expect my Just Cause 2 review within the next day or so.
  • Beta and I are working on a new efficiency system here at, namely how to get my butt in gear. It’s a behind-the-scenes process, but I just wanted to let folks know that I’m trying to catch up.
  • ABO: Random Fandom is DOA. I’m sorry that it didn’t make it past issue one, but lack of support and interest from our readers have put it to bed.

That’s all for now. I hope to have my review up ASAP for everyone to read.

Friday, April 9, 2010

iPhone OS 4

Apple had their press conference on the iPhone OS 4 yesterday. I watched a live blog on Engadget as it happened since I obviously wasn’t there. Here are my thoughts.

Number one on my mind is obviously my excitement for multitasking. I like their interface they went with, and I think it should work well. The folder feature reminds me of the Droid OS personally. I actually joked sarcastically to a friend nearby – who owns an Android phone – that I was so happy that my iPod Touch was turning into an iDroid. On the subject of the Touch, only iPod Touch 3rd gen. are getting the full new OS. Touch’s of the 1st and 2nd generation are getting – for lack of a better term – dumbed down versions, as are iPhones 3G and earlier.

I’m less excited about the enhanced mail feature that allows you to have a merged inbox and more then one Exchange account, but it will be a nice touch. I’m more looking forward to the Game Center, basically iBox Live. It’s a take off of Xbox Live – achievements and all. How it will work with existing apps is anyone’s guess.

Lastly, I’m happy that they’re finally allowing wallpapers. It was nice to be able to pick an idle screen for when the device is locked, but now you can pick a wallpaper to go behind your icons.

OS 4 should be available sometime this summer for iPhone/iPod Touch and this fall for iPad.

Why? Just ‘Cause.


I am officially reviewing Just Cause 2, for anyone wondering. This game has it’s flaws but the carnage is hard to deny. Eidos just released new DLC with this pink car that you can buy from the black market in game, and it’s a riot. It’s nigh maxed out, stat-wise, and it’s fairly cheap, so of course I got one right away and went on a little rampage.

Here’s some quick bullet points on what I like best.

  • Sling-shotting myself across the terrain with my grappling hook before deploying my parachute, and then using my hook to pull myself around in the air to stay above ground.
  • Riding on the hood of one of my AI buddy’s car, with him careening out of control as baddies chase us.
  • Shooting enemy tires out, forcing them to wreck and save me the trouble of killing them.

It’s a fun game, but I’ll have some things to nag about when the review comes around.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review Forthcoming?

I posted last time that I was in a dead zone as far as what to review next. I also posited that Just Cause 2 was not going to be it. Those statements may both change soon.

Early this morning, after another late night World of Warcraft session, I decided I was going to try something I’d not really played yet. I narrowed it down to the demos of Settlers 7 and Just Cause 2. I had been in the beta for Settlers 7, so I opted for Just Cause 2. The preview for the game on Steam made for an interesting read, so I downloaded the demo right away. I was worried that I would be playing the game the same way my computer handles GTA4 and Red Faction: Guerrilla – with frame rates dipping into the single digits all the time. I was also worried that it was going to be like the original Just Cause’s demo, which never excited me.

Damn, was I surprised. The game’s default settings for my computer kept the frame rate around 30 FPS, and the gameplay was pure – for lack of a better word – chaos. I’ve not had free-form destructive fun like that since GTA: San Andreas, and I must say that I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I may pick this game up and review it yet.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Slow Times Ahoy

It’s a slow, slow time to be working at Finances have hit a lull again, and the one game I have that needs reviewing – Mass Effect 2 – is hard for me to sit through long enough to review it. For whatever reason, the game is boring the hell out of me. That may be a review right there, but I’m not that kind of writer. Beta’s and I have been somewhat out of touch lately for whatever reason (I assume her primary occupation is keeping her very busy).

I have also attempted a complete redesign of, but for the time being, that’s going on hold. It’s just not a priority with the site as stagnant as it currently is.

All is not lost, though. Once I get it through my head that Mass Effect 2 just isn’t going to be reviewed, I can finally move on to something new. Maybe Endless Ocean: Blue World or Red Steel 2 will be next, or perhaps Perfect Dark. I have a feeling that attempting to review Just Cause 2 will put me right back where I am now, so I’m holding off on that.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Random Rant of the Month

See this?

See these?

Lies. All of ‘em.

For kicks I ordered a five buck NBA box from Taco Bell as Charles Barkley advertised in the above clip, and it was pretty good. The burrito supreme was mediocre at best, but the taco was a taco, and the cheesy gordita crunch was pretty good. The cinnamon twists were nice and the Pepsi was a Pepsi. There was only one problem.

No box. Just a bag.

Now, I’m usually a cool customer when ordering something I saw on TV. I don’t expect everything to come completely as advertised. However, when you advertise something as a five buck box, don’t you expect, y’know… a box? Hello? Earth to Taco Bell! You can’t sell a box without the box! Worst of all, how the Hell am I supposed to rock without a box?! Charles’ rhyme in the ad should have started;

“The five buck bag… it sags, it sags…”

I want to sue Charles Barkley now. The damages? A five buck box with an actual box.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MLB 2K10 Played, Glitchy

I’ve had my copy of MLB 2K10 since noon on the 2nd, and have put quite a bit of time into it.  My one My Player character has already – in about a month of play time – escaped Double-A to reach the Majors. Wow! However, sometimes the game is just harder then it needs to be.

mlb2k10 2010-03-02 15-39-19-65 Yes, he’s batting without a bat. On a foul ball, he dropped the bat and ran part way to first. He got back and resumed the at-bat, but forgot his weapon. This has happened to me twice.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Steam UI Overhaul


Valve’s steam has been an integral part of PC gaming since it’s launch with Half Life 2 in 2004. It had some growing pains, but now is indispensible and is a beacon of light for PC gamers, holding on against ‘experts’ who claim PC gaming dead time and again.

Now, Steam is getting a facelift. By logging on to Steam and opting into the UI Facelift beta, you can get an early peak at the future face of Steam. Personally, I like it. It’s sleek, and seems to load well.

nusteam2My only complaint is that it reminds me a little of Eve Online, which seems a little odd. I recommend all Steam users give it a shot, and then let Valve hear your opinions so they can get this right. Alphasim out.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sports Pages on

Many probably haven’t seen it, but I’ve been writing My NBA 2K10 Player Chronicles since I got NBA 2K10 for PC back in the fall. Now, it’s set to be joined by a sister blog, My MLB 2K10 Baseball Player Chronicles. You can follow the pics below to reach them, although the latter doesn’t have much since the game launches next week.



My NBA 2K10 PC page mostly covers the ebb and flow of Rick Daniel, an all-around skilled point guard. Daniel started his career in Reno with the D-League Bighorns, but has since spent time in LA with the Clippers and now plays with the Orlando Magic. I occasionally cover my other players, like Sean David (who hasn’t been heard from in a while after quickly arriving with the Mavs following only 5 D-League games) and my newest My Player character, Reggie Anderson. I’ve drawn up trading cards for Rick and Sean so far. Here, take a look at one.


Not terrible, I’d say. Reggie will get one too, if I continue to play him. I’ll likely do similar for my baseball players too on the new blog.

Read the old blog, prepare for the new, and look forward to an MLB 2K10 review. Later,all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MLB 2K10 Demo Coverage

The Xbox 360 demo of MLB 2K10 released at approximately 4:30 AM EST, and I was there to download it. My first impression was that it was a beautiful game, from the in-game graphics to the interface. And then I played it.

I won my first game 4-0 as the Phillies in New Yankee Stadium. I outdueled Andy Pettite as J.A. Happ, striking out four Bronx Bombers in the process. I also hit two homeruns in the first inning. At first I was fighting my timing, which seems changed from last year and feels more solid, but when I connected, I walloped the ball. I managed to whack a home run with a contact swing, so that’s proven to be possible. My lone gripe is that Ben Francisco won Player of the Game after going 0-2, striking out twice.

All in all, this is a good sign for the series. My hopes are high, but they were last year as well. We’ll see how it pans out.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Return of Civilization

Civilization. The name is synonymous with turn-based strategy. Now, Civ is coming back, in the form of Sid Meier’s Civilization V by Firaxis. This has me all worked up. With the addition of a hex-based map and community features, I can’t wait. Expect a more full-fledged notice on proper soon enough.

Delays, Delays

I’m just getting further and further behind these days. I want to review Sims 3: World Adventures, but that’s months old now. I need to catch up with the times.

I’m also looking forward – via morbid curiosity, I suppose – to MLB 2K10. I rated MLB 2K9 as our worst game of 2009, so why am I looking forward to it’s latest installment? For one, it’s the only option for PC and Xbox 360 gamers when it comes to video game baseball. Secondly, they’re implementing My Player from NBA 2K10 into it, and I’m excited for that. I’m bothered that Microsoft hasn’t added as much as a notice to and Xbox Live. Usually, upcoming games get a page on to announce it’s features, show pics and videos, and generally prime it’s audience. With less then two weeks until it’s release, MLB 2K10 hasn’t gotten that treatment. It makes me wonder who’s fault this lack of information is: Microsoft or 2K Sports. Is Microsoft delaying any information on the subject, either through forgetfulness or neglect, or is 2K just not providing them with anything? A demo is expected next week (with information on such supposedly coming by the end of this week), so this should effectively be a non-issue in the end.

I just hope that 2K and Microsoft don’t know something about the game they don’t want to share, such as information regarding it’s quality. When a studio (movie, music, game, whatever) tries to quietly slip a release past the media and it’s consumers, that’s usually a bad sign. Not always, but usually. Fortunately this so far has none of the earmarks of such a disaster, but with the game’s predecessor being as poor as it was… I have to worry.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Re: Motion Controller Confusion

Gaming industry analyst Mike Hickey, as posted on IGN, is calling for a price cut on the Nintendo Wii to hold off Microsoft and Sony’s release of their new motion controllers. Naturally I have a few thoughts on that.

First, the Wii is already the cheapest of the three systems. A further price cut could put the ‘budget item’ thought in consumers minds. They could see it – accurately or not – as an inferior product to it’s competitors simply because it’s so much cheaper, similar to what happened to the Gamecube.

Secondly, these new motion controllers worry me. Lord knows I want them to work, and I love the concept behind Project Natal in particular. However, these controllers will not be standard. Even if they were to bundle these new products with their systems going forward –and they won’t - there would still be thousands of consoles out there without a motion controller. Think about what’s happened to the Xbox 360 and the uncertainty of their hard drive. Developers can’t assume a player will have a hard drive on their 360, so you can’t plan for it and you can’t take full advantage of it. That’s going to be the fate of these new controllers, I feel. Game companies are going to either have to design two control setups for one game or focus solely on these new motion controllers if they want to take advantage of Microsoft and Sony’s new toys, and I don’t think either would work well (half-assed control for the former, limiting their market for the latter).

I think this is going to be a rough going when these new forms of control launch for all three companies, but I hope that we as gamers will get some great new experiences out of it and that the Big Three know what their doing. Alphasim out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over My Head Again

Continuing my grand tradition of getting myself in over my head, I’m working on the next episode of the All or Nothing Bot Wars. Check out the link to find out what the buzz is about. The original series was a hit when released privately, and garnered – in it’s entirety – over 31 thousand views and no video rated under four stars. You can download a collection of the original series on the AON site, or watch them as many others have, on YouTube.

While I’m working on that, I’ve been trying keep up a Cleveland-area pro sports blog. I’ve always wanted to cover sports here, but I’ve found out time and again that covering the breadth of the sports world alone was nigh impossible for me. Thus, I’ve settled on just covering my local teams at the Cleveland Sportsfan Cave. Check that out, too.

I guess that’s all for now. I’ve got to get back to work. I hope everyone enjoys my hard work!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blog on

This morning I added my blog to the homepage of How so? Wasn't a link always there? Yes, but now the content is as well. Thanks to Grazr, you can now keep up to date with from the site's homepage . Enjoy!

ABO on Course for Arrival

Despite it’s current lack of popularity, I’m continuing work on issue 2 of ABO: Random Fandom. Topics include a couple more ABO Head-2-Heads, an update on my NBA 2k10 My Player avatars and a quick history of Alazar. I’m hoping to make each issue better then the last, but if no one reads issue 2, that may be the end of ABO.

I’ve noticed that with the upswing in traffic that our most popular articles are our Game of the Year articles from over the years. That may prove that this hit bubble is due to burst any minute now. Again, if there’s anything you want to see on, let me know.Beta and I are always working on improving the site.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Update

I'm just checking in quick to state that my Mass Effect 2 review is going to be running late. No surprise, huh?

For anyone interested, Gavelier's World of Warcraft has gotten two new comics in the last few days. Find a link to it on

Finally, I'm making a transition to Google Chrome from Firefox, and so far so good. I like Chrome much better at the moment, but only time will tell if it can replace Firefox in my daily routine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Torchlight Review Complete

My long-overdue Torchlight review is up. About time, ne?

By the way, the problem with my copy Dragon Age Origins seems to be some of the people I share my main computer with who decided that they didn’t recognize the Dragon Age Origins Updater service and turned it off. I turned it back on, and it’s problem solved. Back to Ferelden!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Up to Date – Feb. 6th 2010

I’ve posted my annual page on the current condition and future of, and I’ve now dubbed it the State of the Site Address. Catchy, huh? In any case, check it out.

On a sad note, my copy of Dragon Age Origins has – for whatever reason – decided that all of my content was unauthorized and has disabled me from using my saves. Now, I have the bill on my account where I bought the Collectors Edition, and Bioware’s site says I have the content. Apparently, it’s the game (which also occasionally refuses to connect to the Bioware network). I’m working on a solution, but had this happened prior to the Game of the Year awards, it likely would have had an impact. As it stands, though, it’s just an annoyance. Alphasim out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Catching Up Again

Hey all. If you’re wondering where the updates are, they’re coming. I just happen to be broke right now and cannot afford a new game to review. My next target is to finally get Torchlight reviewed and then move on to Mass Effect 2. I’ll probably review the Xbox 360 version because my PC is really starting to show it’s age.

In any case, if you want to expedite the process, you can donate something to via our Paypal link on’s homepage.

In more casual news, Beta got a copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii for Christmas, and took it back with her to Chicago. We’d played the one I had here in Akron together for quite some time prior to her heading home, and if one thing stood out, it was that she wasn’t the best at the ice levels. Why, I know not. Anyway, I breezed us through those levels while she was here, but we didn’t get that far when I was visiting her at her place, so I got an email a while back commenting something to the effect that the snow levels were a pain without me there to help clear them.

It makes a gamer proud, it does, to hear that someone else looks up to your ‘skillz’ like that. Of course, I know Beta well, and I know she’s long since cleared them on her own. You go, Beta!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alpha is Back!

I know I’m way late on my end-of-the-year updates, but I was in Chicago visiting Beta, and in the process got terribly sick. I’m better now, but it’s taking me time to get back up to speed. I’ll have it up before the month is out, I promise.